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Network structure and centrality of cleaning interactions among South America birds and mammals

Grant number: 19/16160-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Theoretical Ecology
Principal researcher:Paulo Roberto Guimarães Junior
Grantee:Julia Nader Acquaviva
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/14809-0 - Evolutionary dynamics in ecological networks, AP.JP2


This project fits in the research theme about "distinct Interaction outcome, trait divergence, and coevolution in ecological networks" from the JP-2 project. Here we will investigate the structure of the network interactions of a commensal-mutualistic association among birds that remove ectoparasites and other food types from herbivorous mammals. Our hypothesis is that these associations, that in nature range from commensalism to mutualism, show similar network structure observed in other mutualisms, such as seed dispersal and cleaning mutualisms in marine ecosystems. If so, we hope that the networks formed by this cleaning interactions will demonstrate higher values of nastiness and low values of modularity. In this cases, we hope that some few species of birds/cleaners will be central in the organization of this networks. At last, we will investigate possible ecological factors that may influence the centrality of the cleaners and the hosts species in our interaction network.

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